Take on a Life – Make a Sacrifice

Prayer and Action Guide for Lent 2019

Easter is the high point of the year for Christians.  Without the resurrection of Jesus, we probably wouldn’t take notice of the rest of his life.  As great a teacher as he was, and as many powerful things that he did, neither his birth nor his death would be recognized in the significant ways that they are.              Easter didn’t – and shouldn’t — come easy, though.  We only get there through the humility of Jesus’ birth and the unjust horror of his death.  Athletes (and people on weight-loss programs) often say “No pain, no gain.”  Similarly, Jesus said, “Whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me will find it” (Matthew 16:25).  Lent is that season when we remember this eternal principle: if we want the resurrection and the life – Easter – there’s a sacrifice that comes first — crucifixion.  We humbly remind ourselves of the sacrifice necessary for life in the forty days leading up to The Day of Easter.  And, maybe, after years of practice, sacrifice will become an attitude of daily life.              For these forty days of Lent, I invite you to join me in the exercises of prayer, sacrifice, and action.  I’m calling it “Take on a Life – Give a Sacrifice.”  Each week, I’ll suggest two exercises for the week.  The first will be a prayer or action that is life-giving.  The second will be a sacrifice of some kind that is a personal action to serve as a reminder of the cost of commitment to Christ.  So let’s begin – Take on a Life – This week, pray specifically for those organizations and facilities that provide abortions of human lives. 

  • Pray for a conviction about the value of life to shape the views of those operating such facilities.
  • Pray for the women who choose the services of those facilities.
  • Pray for those who have already used such services – women and men. Pray for their emotional, physical, and spiritual well-being. Pray for them to know deeply God’s grace.
  • Pray for our society to renew our commitment to the value of human life and the responsibility of sexual expression. Pray for this restored value to permeate all areas of our communal life, from criminal justice to economics to race relations to politics to simple personal discourse and conversation. 

Make a Sacrifice – I spoke this challenge in worship the past two weeks: if you are not presently tithing your income through ministry of your church, do so for the forty days until Easter.  As you do so, notice:

  • What spending in your life is on things you could honestly do without?
  • What necessities would seem threatened by giving such a portion of your income?
  • How does God provide for you as you trust His faithfulness?

If you already tithe your income to ministry, consider the following:

  • Where could you begin the discipline of giving more to the Lord’s work?
  • Where else could you “sacrifice” for these forty days? Often, the discipline of “doing without” something mundane and routine develops a new routine in its place, such as prayer, scripture reading, or simply “spiritual attention.”  Consider giving up the routine of:  a habitual form of social media or regular media consumption; an unnecessary food item (Starbucks? Chocolate? Diet Coke?); a meal; personal purchases; etc.
  • Ask God directly about what He would lead you, personally and privately, to sacrifice during this season.